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Tuesday May 21, 2024

No shortage of paracetamol in country, says health minister

DRAP has been directed to launch countrywide crackdown against criminals producing counterfeit medicines, says Abdul Qadir

By Our Correspondent
September 13, 2022
Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel. — Twitter/Ministry of National Health Services
Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel. — Twitter/Ministry of National Health Services

ISLAMABAD: Announcing a countrywide crackdown against those involved in producing and spreading spurious and counterfeit medicines from today (Tuesday), Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel on Monday claimed that there was no shortage of painkiller paracetamol in the country and its different brands were available in the country.

“The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has been directed to launch a countrywide crackdown against criminals producing spurious and counterfeit medicines and copies of life-saving medicines in the country. Within next 15 days, I would apprise the media of actions taken against the elements playing with the lives of people by spreading fake medicines,” Abdul Qadir Patel told a news conference at the headquarters of DRAP in Islamabad.

Accompanied by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DRAP Asim Rauf, Abdul Qadir Patel accused the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of spreading misleading information regarding the shortage of paracetamol and ‘promoting’ a particular brand of painkiller, adding that the PTI leadership has ‘no pain’ for the flood victims.

“The actual situation is that due to increase in number of dengue fever cases, growing demand of medicines in the flood-affected areas and other factors, the leading brand of paracetamol is under stress but due to the rumours spread by the PTI leadership, people have started hoarding this medicine, which is causing temporary shortage in some of the areas,” he said.

The DRAP has sent several senior officers to Karachi to monitor the production of paracetamol, especially the production of its leading brand, Abdul Qadir Baloch said, claiming that the federal and provincial drug inspectors were monitoring the situation on a daily basis and submitting their reports at the headquarters every evening.

Claiming that pressure was being exerted to increase the prices of medicines, he said the PTI-led government increased the prices of medicines thrice in their tenure, adding that they increased prices of 597 medicines by 179 percent.

Responding to a query regarding an increase in the prices of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) or raw material used for the manufacturing of medicines, Abdul Qadir Patel said for the first time in the history of Pakistan, the DRAP is going to register the raw material and fix its prices, so that realistic prices of medicines could be fixed in the country.

“I have directed the DRAP to start the registration process of raw material used in the manufacturing drugs like it gives registration to medicines. This will help us fix the actual prices of medicines based on the cost of raw material used in the drug manufacturing process,” he added.

Responding to a query regarding the sale of medicines on generic names, the federal health minister said he was in favour of sale of medicines with their generics but claimed that the pharmaceutical industry was strong opponent of this idea, as according to them, generics sale could result in serious medication errors as most of the pharmacy owners in the rural areas of the country were not literate enough to dispense medicines properly with their generic names.

Taking a dig at PTI Chairman Imran Khan, he said the former prime minister’s speeches were a major reason behind causing headaches to the people, as after listening to his speeches, the people have to take two tablets of painkiller every time, which is one of the major reasons behind unavailability of the medicine in the market.

“Your speeches are the reason behind causing headache to the people. When they listen to you, they start having headaches and this leads to the shortage of painkiller medicine,” he added.